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An old song becomes documentably older

In my very first post on this blog, I included the first song that Ivanka/Mehrem/Kera sang for us in Draginovo in 1981.  The one where “…she sat down and said nothing for a minute and a half! (I timed it), while she composed herself.  Then she sang us a song that lasted for nearly 10 minutes….”  This, she tells me, is a very old song.  (You can hear the song in the first post on the blog, “Come sing for these Americans!”)

Sure enough, my dear friend and colleague Miriam Milgram recently sent me a text she had found in a song collection published in1895 — that’s almost a hundred years before Kera sang it for us!  Miriam sent me the text, which I will post here.  It corresponds rather amazingly well to Kera’s version (remember, village people don’t learn songs from books, they learn them from each other), though I have not translated it yet because there are some differences that I have not yet completely deciphered.  But I’ll give you the two texts here:

Ivanka/Kera’s text from 1981:
(click on the image for a full-size version)

Draginovo '80:8

The “new” (older) version, recorded in Chepino (one of the sections of nearby Velingrad) in the 1890s:
(again, click on the image for a full-size version [it’s pre-1917 spelling reform])

Isuf sirak i Kaimak Duda